By Jim Bastian
Journal Sports Writer
NEW ULM - With six starters back from last season's 12-7 season, the New Ulm Cathedral baseball team is looking to make some noise in the always tough Tomahawk Conference and in Section 2A.
Back are first baseman Russ Hoffman and second baseman Collin Helget. Outfielders Brandon Beranek, Gabe Knowles, Nate Palmer and catcher Jack Schwartz are also back.
Hoffman, Helget, Knowles, Palmer and Beranek are also pitchers.
The five combined for a 9-6 record led by Palmer's 3-0 mark.
"We then have some rookies coming up and who will be called upon for playing time,"coach Bob Weier said. "Right now we have an open spot at shortstop and third base."
At shortstop Weier has sophomore Michael Skillings, who played part of the season there last year.
Third base is wide open with sophomore Jimmy Herzog getting the first crack at that spot.
"Alex Guggisberg, a junior who played on the B-squad last year is being looked at in doing some utility work," Weier said. "We have quite a few kids who can pitch but we need someone who can play second base, third base and shortstop along with the outfield. So we are going to look at him at how many positions he can handle. We also have Evan Atzenhofer in the outfield battle.
"We also have a sophomore in Nick Stadick who is also in the same role as Alex is. We will see how many positions they can play affectively," Weier said.
Weier said that if there is a question mark over the heads of the Greyhounds it is pitching.
"We have some candidates - some good candidates - but that has to be proven on the field," he said. "And it seems like every spring we get a surprise or two of some kids not working out as expected or some kids showing you more than you thought that they had. That will probably the scenario this spring again."
One of the seniors who will be counted on is Palmer, who feels that as a senior he wants the team to play as a team.
"We need to help the young talent develop and make a good post-season run," Palmer said.
Palmer said that he wants to have the team and himself have a good season.
"We need to have some of the younger kids step up and fill some holes" Palmer said.
Weier gives the preseason Tomahawk Conference nod to Sleepy Eye St. Mary's with Springfield a close second.
"But we are hoping at Cathedral that we are also pushing for a conference title," Weier said.